Interview with Michelle Yue

Three women investors realised that there was a need among women wealth holders to gain more insight into managing their finances, find a community, and strengthen their knowledge around investing. - That’s how The Beam Network was born.

Thank you for joining us today, Michelle. Financial education is in high demand at the moment. Why do you think this is so?

Thanks for having me, Isabelle. Since we founded The Beam, I have met so many intelligent, accomplished women who have come into wealth – whether it’s self-made, through inheritance, marriage, divorce, or a liquidity event. They invariably say the same thing: they feel ill-equipped to manage it. According to McKinsey, women in Western Europe currently control about a third of assets under management and in the US, women are predicted to control two-thirds of the wealth by 2030. The pace of growth is astronomical, making the demand for tailored financial education grow. Women want to arm themselves with financial knowledge so that they can challenge the status quo and make informed decisions about their wealth.

Unfortunately, in most countries, the approach to personal finance and financial education across the school curriculum is patchy. Yet digitization has created more access to complex financial assets, which makes it potentially easier for people to mis-manage their assets. We find that the majority of women view ethical investments as a high priority; women want their investments to have more than just a financial return and they want their investments to be aligned with their values. Yet, they are finding access to values-aligned investments challenging.

All these factors will bring about a massive shift in how wealth is managed. Are we, as women wealth holders (or, indeed, as advisors), prepared for this new reality of becoming the economic majority? Where do we learn how to manage our wealth, let alone learn the skills to be responsible stewards of wealth?

The Beam Network is an important and much-needed initiative. Tell us about The Beam and why you created it.

I’m excited to have this conversation about a subject I’m genuinely passionate about.In a nutshell, The Beam Network is a global community of women wealth holders who empower one another, through connection and financial education, to invest in line with their values and create a better world. At its heart, we have brought together a diverse group of women who are looking for greater involvement in their wealth management. We have a world class curriculum that covers the foundations of finance and then moves into everything else you would want to know as a wealth owner. But it’s not just about the learning and the insights, it’s really about the community. We’ve gathered a truly impressive female network committed to taking control of their financial future, who want to use their wealth for good, and can play a powerful role in shaping the future of our economy and society. The Beam was created to fill a gap in my own life and evolved from my own needs. With over 15 years under my belt as a philanthropist, I knew that the problems the world faces were too big to tackle with philanthropy alone. Although philanthropy has its place, I realised that I was not fully using one of my biggest levers, my financial investments, to effectively create change: I wanted to explore impact investing, gender-lens investing and angel investing, but didn’t have the tools, knowledge or contacts to move into this space. I searched high and low for the right education, and the right community, that was relevant to me as a wealth owner. Although I found products that were created by banks for their own clients or academic institutions that were aimed at people that wanted to go into the industry, there wasn’t anything that was independent, holistic, and that fit my needs as a wealth owner, particularly as a woman wealth owner. My co-founders also faced the same hurdles in finding the right type of financial education for them.

So, we set out to do something about it … and that’s how we started The Beam Network.

What makes The Beam different?

The Beam was founded by three women who have experienced - first-hand - the challenges of managing wealth, so we look at wealth holistically. We understand what our members need and we are always in listening mode, so that we know what they want.

We have three pillars of support: education, engagement and empowerment. We were created to empower women wealth holders and to bridge the knowledge gap between advisors and wealth owners. But we’re different.

We’re completely independent and we don’t have any investments to sell. We make learning about finance fun and we help women build confidence in their knowledge. We create a safe space for people to share their own experiences in a non-judgemental way. When women share their knowledge (and frustrations) about managing their wealth we can move towards a more empowered approach to our wealth management, eventually reimagining what healthy, thriving economies should be.

What impact do you achieve through The Beam Network?

As more and more women become investors, I believe it will unlock billions and billions of Euros to address the myriad of complex polycrises, from climate to social inequality, that the world is facing today.

At The Beam, our members, who hail from across the globe, are on a learning journey to ensure that they are investing in line with their values. On average, our members have £30 million of investable assets and together they represent well over £1 billion in what we call ‘Assets Under Education’. We help them ignite their interest in finance, solidify their financial knowledge, and frame their values so that they can manage the complexities of wealth more effectively. The Beam helps them feel confident, supported, and empowered to shape their portfolios to reflect their individual goals.

One of our members has even started her own fund to invest in key women’s health issues that have been underfunded and overlooked, with the goal of shifting more capital into women’s health by de-risking it for other investors.

We’re thrilled that 98% expressed feeling more empowered since being part of The Beam Network. Perhaps it can be summed up best in the words from one of our members, “I find it incredibly motivating to be part of a community of women who find meaningful and authentic ways to convert their privilege into impact.”


What advice would you give to women who want to start investing?

  1. Educate yourself
    Don’t be afraid to ask questions, talk to lots of people, and learn. If you like the DIY approach, there are numerous books, online resources, videos, podcasts to help you. Master the basics of finance first, before getting to the advanced concepts, and don’t be intimidated by the jargon.
  2. Define your objectives
    Setting clear goals which will help you determine your risk tolerance and investment horizon. These, in turn, will guide your investment decisions.
  3. Diversify. Diversify. Diversify
    Did I say diversify? Diversity is the key to managing risk and market fluctuations.
  4. Play the long game
    Investing is a long-term endeavour so don’t be swayed by short term market volatility. Avoid making decisions based on emotions or the latest trends. Stick to your investment strategy and review your portfolio regularly to ensure it is meeting your goals.
  5. Pay attention to fees
    High fees can erode your returns over time so ask questions and demand clarification on the fees associated with your investments.
  6. Work with a good advisor
    Interview at least three and pick one that you have a good rapport with, understands you, and really listens.
  7. Find a community.
    You can gain so much – everything from knowledge to confidence - from a supportive community that normalises conversations about investing, finance, and wealth.